Summary Information for Safe Church Environment Policy
Explotation and Harassment Policy Statement
As a community of Christian faith, Immanuel United Church of Christ is committed to creating and maintaining programs, facilities and community in which members, friends, clergy, employees and volunteers can worship, learn and work together in an atmosphere free from all forms of discrimination, harassment, exploitation or intimidation. The congregation of Immanuel United Church of Christ supports a safe church environment including individual responsibility to fulfill the highest standards of personal conduct toward others and to lead and guide the congregation in fulfillment of the standards set by our Christian faith. Immanuel United Church of Christ strongly opposes and prohibits any form of sexual exploitation, sexual harassment, harassment, bullying or abuse regardless of race, color, ethnicity, marital status, sex, age, sexual orientation, sexual identification, or mental capacity. It is the intention of the congregation to affirmatively nurture good behavior and to prevent and correct behavior that is contrary to the policy. As necessary and as defined in the policy, those persons that violate the policy will be disciplined. Every member of the congregation, whether Pastor, “authorized clergy”, leader, lay staff, volunteer, or parent, has a role to lead those who look to them individually for guidance, to monitor their behavior, and redirect them when they cross boundaries outlined in the policy.
Prohibition of Sexual Exploitation and Harassment
Immanuel United Church of Christ is committed to creating and maintaining a worship and work community in which members, friends, staff, and volunteers can worship and work together in an atmosphere free of all forms of discrimination, harassment, exploitation, or intimidation. Specifically, all persons associated with Immanuel United Church of Christ should be aware that the church is strongly opposed to sexual exploitation, sexual harassment, bullying, abuse and harassment and that such behavior is prohibited by church policy. It is the intention and responsibility of the church to take whatever action may be needed to prevent and correct behavior, which is contrary to the policy, and, if necessary, to discipline those persons who violate this policy.
Sexual harassment, sexual exploitation, harassment, or abuse of church members or any other individuals, regardless of race, color, ethnicity, marital status, sex, age, sexual orientation, sexual identity or mental capacity, by anyone engaged in the ministry of Immanuel United Church of Christ is unethical and unprofessional behavior and will not be tolerated within this congregation.
Reporting Sexual Harassment, Sexual Exploitation, or Harassment
Any minister, employee, volunteer, or member of Immanuel United Church of Christ has a duty to report any acts of sexual exploitation, sexual harassment, or abuse they may observe whether in the workplace, in the life of the church, or in any of the church’s ministries.
Any employee, volunteer, or church member or visitor who believes they are a victim of sexual exploitation, sexual harassment, and/or harassment in the church should immediately report the behavior as indicated below.
The report is to be made to the Response Team directly or through the minister or Council President as the complainant is comfortable.
If the incident involves a child (children), additional reporting requirements are to be followed including reporting suspected child abuse to Child Protective Services.
Youth Protection Policy Statement
Immanuel United Church of Christ is committed to creating a safe and healthy environment in which young people can learn about and experience God’s love. In order to ensure this, we expect that all people applying to be volunteers who work with minors will have been members for six months or friends of the church for at least one year. It is the policy of the church to provide adequate supervision for all youth activities. We also expect all employees and volunteers who work with minors to complete and submit an Employment/Volunteer Application and Disclosure Form.
The following guidelines are in addition to the general requirements for ministry to the church as outlined in the policy document in order to promote a safe and healthy environment for youth to grow in their faith and experience God’s love.
1. All leaders of events and on-going programs will be screened before being used as leaders. The checking of references will be part of this screening. Persons convicted of any form of sexual or physical abuse of children, youth, or vulnerable adults, or who have a history of inappropriate behavior with children, youth, or vulnerable adults, will not be employed and shall not volunteer service in any church sponsored activity or program for minors.
2. Employees and volunteers who work with children and youth shall observe the ‘two-person rule’’ or the “open door policy” at all times. The “two-person rule” requires that employees and volunteers and supervisors shall make every reasonable effort to avoid situations where an employee or volunteer is alone with children or youth without a partner. The “open door policy’ requires the door to be open at all times. Doors with large windows allowing a view of the entire room will suffice if having the door open would disrupt other groups, classes, etc. The “two-person rule” will be mandatory for all employees and volunteers with our nursery and kindergarten age children. 3. Employees and volunteers providing transportation on group field trips with children or youth must have completed the Volunteer Driver Qualification Form and Agreement. 4. Some activities that include children, youth, or vulnerable adults are of such a general or open character (e.g. public worship, church picnic) that the leaders need not meet screening and training requirements. Likewise, some activities designed for family participation, where children, youth, or vulnerable adults attend as part of family groups or parent-child pairings (e.g. men’s Lenten breakfast, Mother/Daughter banquet) need not have leaders who meet screening requirements. However, all activities that include children, youth, or vulnerable adults need to be properly conducted according to local church guidelines 5. Every event or program must have at least two adults in leadership. When there is multiple use of a facility, there need not be two adults in every room where programs with children, youth, or vulnerable adults are being conducted. In such cases, rooms should have doors with windows or remain open. Adults should avoid situations where they are one-on-one with a child, youth, or vulnerable adult, away from other persons (this does not apply to parent-child or sibling relationships). 6 Parental permission, including medical release information, is required for overnight trips, out of town activities, or any activity not a part of a general all church activity (e.g. church picnic, Sunday School, etc). Parental consent should be requested any time there is any question of whether it is needed or not. 7. On overnight or extended trips, adults do not share beds with children, youth or vulnerable adults. Adults do not share sleeping facilities in a 1:1 ratio with a child, youth, or vulnerable adult; adults may share group sleeping facilities with children, youth, or vulnerable adults but only if two adults are present on the site. Parent-child and sibling relationships are an exception to this guideline. Coed overnight trips require at least one leader of each gender. 8. Leaders will not use or tolerate abusive actions in conduct of activities with children, youth, or vulnerable adults. Youth in leadership positions should be properly supervised by the adult leaders so that they are not abusive in the leadership of their peers; hazing in any form is forbidden. 9. Leaders will avoid affection with youth and vulnerable adults that cannot be observed by others. 10. Leaders will not stare at or comment on youth or vulnerable adult’s bodies. 11. Leaders will not date or become romantically involved with youth or vulnerable adults. 12. Leaders will not use or be under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs in the presence of youth or vulnerable adults. 13. Leaders will not have secrets with youth and vulnerable adults and will only give gifts with prior permission. 14. Leaders are prohibited from working one-on-one with youth and vulnerable adults in a private setting. Leaders will use common areas when working with youth and vulnerable adults. If a private office or room must be used, another adult should be near and checking on the room. The door to the room should be left open.
Additional Information from the Policy
All prospective leaders, employees, and teachers will be required to complete an Employment/Volunteer Application and Disclosure Form.
For each applicant, an interview with at least two church members will be completed including a check of the National Sex Offender Data Base.
All new persons approved for a position/role will be required to attend a Safe Church Environment Policy class and all leaders, teachers, employees will be required to annually exhibit their understanding of their responsibilities and the policy.